LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Detroit’s bankruptcy, which has been crawling along for the better part of a year, now seems to hinge at least partially on what the state legislature decides regarding money.
Kevyn Orr, the Detroit emergency manager who was appointed by the governor, told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday he is adamant that the nearly $195 million the city is requesting could save more than a billion dollars in the long run.
Legislation before a state House committee would commit $194.8 million to help prevent steeper cuts to retiree pensions and the sale of pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Foundations and the museum have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars, too.
“That’s $1.75 billion in liability that the state is attempting to settle for $185 million. I’m not a legislator. I don’t have a vote. But if you were to tell me that I could pay $195 million to take care of $1.75 billion in liability, that sounds like a pretty good deal,” Orr told 24 Hour News 8. “It’s like the Fram oil filter commercial: You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”
City unions oppose provisions in the legislation that aren’t part of a deal brokered with bankruptcy mediators.
The legislature held another hearing Tuesday on giving the city the cash, but delayed an initial vote until Wednesday to allow more time to review a number of changes being made. Expected changes include adding a City Council designee to a nine-member oversight board to review Detroit’s finances and budgets. The panel would still primarily consist of state appointees. Another change makes the oversight committee go dormant if Detroit meets various conditions.
Some had hoped that Gov. Rick Snyder could sign off on the 11-bill financial aid package for the city next week during the Detroit’s Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.
Snyder has said he wants the bills on his desk in June.